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White Heather for Protection

Chapter Text

Soft humming filled the room. The air smelled of baby oils and lavender. Light from the setting sun bathed the nursery walls in a golden glow. A redheaded woman was carrying a squalling infant in her arms while her little girl watched on. 

"Darling, would you mind helping Mama get the baby's bottle? It's time for his feed." Lily Potter rocked the bright-eyed infant soothingly.

"I'll prepare the bottle!" enthused a toddler with tousled raven locks and shining green eyes, as she scurried to the kitchen counter. She'd seen her Mama make up a bottle before and she was certain she could get it right. After all, she was already three; all grown-up and ready to help with the baby. 

"Be careful with the hot water, dear," Lily reminded her daughter worriedly. Despite all the baby-proofing charms she and James had implemented, the child unerringly found herself in all sorts of trouble.

'Just like her father,' Lily thought, exasperated. 

The girl trotted back into the room, holding the bottle of milk carefully in both hands. There was an air of expectation as she passed the milk to her mother. She tensed, awaiting the verdict. When Lily merely hummed nonchalantly, the girl drooped like a wilting flower. 

Lily chuckled at her daughter's antics and gave her judgment. "Well done! A perfect bottle." The girl perked up at the compliment, having worried that she'd gotten it all wrong. 

"Would you like to feed your brother the milk you prepared?" The girl absolutely beamed at the offer and eagerly held her arms out. Lily carefully arranged the precious bundle in the short limbs and handed her daughter the bottle. The girl briefly buried her face in downy copper hair, luxuriating in the sweet baby scent of innocence and sunlight. 

"Hey there lovely. Here's your bottle," she cooed softly at her baby brother as she brought the nipple to his lips. The infant suckled greedily while fisting some of her hair in his pudgy hand. Eventually, when the bottle ran dry, she picked up a clean flannel to throw over her shoulder. She looked to her mother for assurance, then positioned the baby's head over her shoulder. Like she'd seen her Mama do, she patted his back tentatively. Finally, a burp erupted and she wrinkled her nose at the smell of sour milk.

"The baby needs a change too, Mama," the girl said as she carefully handed her brother over. She then hastily threw the soiled flannel into the hamper.

"Not going to help me with this one?" Lily teased as she deftly prepared a change of nappies at the table.

The girl's face scrunched up adorably as she shook her head 'no'. Much as she adored her brother, she wasn't quite ready to confront his other end. She observed keenly while her Mama tackled the horrors of dirty diapers. When that was done, she offered to tuck the baby in. 

"Alright, but then it's off to bed with you. The Samhain activities must have worn you out." The girl cheered and agreed. After helping her brother nestle comfortably into his blankets, the faint sound of the front door opening could be heard. 

"That must be your Papa now. Let's go welcome him ho-" Deafening banging interrupted Lily's words. The sounds of a fight made their way into the nursery. Lily quickly lifted her daughter, her eyes wide and face pale.

"Mama, what's-"

"Hush darling. You need to be very quiet for Mama, alright?"

Lily promptly placed her daughter into the wardrobe, weaving complicated locking and silencing charms onto it. She prayed that it would be overlooked. 

The girl watched through the slit of the wardrobe doors as a strange pale man forced his way into the nursery. She trembled, whimpering as the Bad Man advanced on her Mama. Her heart pounded loudly and she couldn't hear anything but "No, take me instead!" and "Not my baby!". 

It happened lightning-fast; two words screamed out and a sickly green jet was hurtling towards her Mama. The body fell to the ground, an instant kill. The girl let out an anguished cry, knowing in her heart of hearts that her Mama was de-dea-. Gone. But another cry pierced the air, and she remembered her brother. Her innocent, defenceless brother out there with the Mad Man. 

With renewed strength, she struggled against the doors locking her in. She clawed at the wood feverishly, clawed till her fingers bled. Still, she remained helpless as the Crazy Man pointed his wand at her brother - her precious baby brother! - and said the two Evil Words. The puke green light flared again and she wanted to close her eyes but couldn't.

Wanted to look away as the ray touched the infant but unable to turn around.

Held her breath as a blinding white light filled the room.

Gasped as the green light bounced back towards the Slimy Man.

A piercing wail, then there was nothing left of him but an amorphous black vapour which dissipated quickly.

Silence. A haunting stillness in the wake of the tragedy. 

The girl snapped as she pushed at the doors again. "I need to get out. Get out! GET OUT!" A hot surge of something welled up in her. ('Magic,' she thought in the back of her mind.) The heat rose and rose as she instinctively held her palms facing the doors. It forced its way out through her open palms, splintering the wood. One last hot pulse, and the doors burst open.

She tumbled out of her hiding place and scampered towards her Mama. "Wake up. Mama, wake up!" she pleaded while shaking the still-warm body.  Mama was so still, even though her eyes were open. Her panicked cries were interrupted by a horrific bawling. Her eyes shot up to the cot as she stumbled to her feet. 

Her brother was okay. He was frantic and crying, but he was alive. Shakily, she picked him up and tried to coo soothingly at him. (If it sounded strangled, he didn't seem to notice.) With her Mama d-dead and Papa probably as well, she needed to take care of the baby. 

When he finally calmed down, he looked up with his eyes wide open. She froze. His eyes weren't the emerald green she saw in the mirror everyday, the same shade as their Mama's. Suddenly, all she could see was the sickly-puke-evil-DEATH-green (AVADA KEDAVRA, her mind shrieks).

And she screams.